In an otherwise dire season for the Eagles, running back Bryce Brown has been a beacon of hope. The electric seventh-round rookie has dazzled over the last two weeks, combining for 347 rushing yards, the second highest two-game rushing total in Eagles history, trailing only a Steve Van Buren double dip in 1947. Brown's combination of size and speed have Eagles fans dreaming of a world-class backfield tandem heading into the future when Brown, 21, is joined by All-Pro LeSean McCoy, 24.
But, of course, there has been one hang-up when it comes to the visions of grandeur for Brown's future. Brown has fumbled the ball away three times in the last two games, and four times on the season. Those four fumbles are only one behind Willis McGahee and Chris Johnson for the most of any running back in the league this season, even though Brown has only been getting the lion's share of carries for two games.
So what are Brown and the Eagles doing to work on Brown's protection of the ball?
"We're doing a lot of stuff at practice, scout guys are going after it a lot more, trying to game-simulate it because we don't really do contact (in practice)," Brown said Wednesday. "It's making me work a lot harder, too.
"They almost got two (fumbles today), but we're over-emphasizing high and tight, keeping it real tucked. They didn't get me."
Brown's four fumbles on the season are actually tied with McCoy, who is still recovering from the concussion he suffered back in Week 11. But McCoy has been watching his teammate closely, and he's been offering encouragement to the new running back on the scene.
"I talked with him a little bit today," Brown said of McCoy, "He thinks I'm going very well. He told me, 'Don't change a thing, keep playing with confidence and don't pay attention to what everybody else is saying. Play your game and keep doing what you're doing.' Protecting the ball and things like that, that'll come."
As impressive as he's been, Brown will be tested even further this Sunday by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense. Not only is Brown now a known entity for whom the Bucs will specifically game-plan, but the Bucs also boast the league's No. 1 run defense. Through 12 games, the Buccaneers are allowing only 82.3 rushing yards per game and only 3.37 yards per run, both of which rank as the best in the league.
"They're very athletic," Brown said. "I think they do a great job of stopping the run, being ranked number one. I think it's a great challenge for us as a unit offensively and we're excited for it. They're a great team and it should be a great game."
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